Canada Takes 3 Of The Top 5 On The Economist’s Most Liveable Cities Index, Australia Close Behind

Three of the top five most liveable cities in the world are in Canada, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, The Economist‘s market research group. Australia was close behind, taking first, sixth, and seventh place. And according to The Weather Network, while the top spots haven’t changed much, more than half of the cities studied have declined in liveability since last year.

The findings rank 140 cities worldwide based on stability, healthcare, culture/environment, education, and infrastructure — and Canada took spots three, four, and five with Vancouver, British Columbia, Toronto, Ontario, and Calgary, Alberta, respectively. Australia’s Melbourne, Victoria, was number one; Australia also took spots six and seven with Adelaide, South Australia, and Perth, Western Australia.

This marks Melbourne's sixth consecutive year as the most liveable city in the world.
This marks Melbourne's sixth consecutive year as the most liveable city in the world. [Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images]

America didn’t make the top 10.

The rest of the report paints a much darker picture of current global living conditions. According to CNN, global terrorism and war have caused many cities to drop further down the livability index. Paris, France, in particular has dropped by 3.7 percent — a drop partially fueled by the rash of terrorist attacks that the city has been suffering — showing the third-worst decline in livability in the world. And as the report summary notes, even where the top cities have seen movement in their rankings, it’s been exclusively downward.

“Although the most liveable cities in the world remain largely unchanged, there has been movement within the top tier of liveability. Of the 65 cities with scores of 80 or more, 17 have seen a change in score in the past 12 months. As global instability grows, these movements have been overwhelmingly negative, with no city in the top tier registering a score improvement.”

The report also specifically highlights downward trends in American standards of living, citing unrest between police and black communities.

“US cities have recently seen further declines in scores. This partly stems from unrest related to a number of deaths of black people either in police custody or shot on the street despite being unarmed in the past couple of years.”

Detroit also made the "worst decline" top ten, the only American city to do so.
Detroit also made the "worst decline" top ten, the only American city to do so. [Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]

The EIU added the five-year-decline statistics to the report summary to demonstrate how global livability has fallen in recent times, citing worldwide terrorism as the main issue. The global average livability score has fallen by almost 1 percent in the last five years, and a quarter of that has occurred entirely in the past year.

That one percent might not seem like much, but it shows a trend across the globe toward less stability and worse living conditions. It also shows just how much impact terrorism has had in recent years — when taken on its own, stability fell by 2.4 percent.

When determining why some cities tended to take and remain in the top spots, the EIU spotted some correlations.

“Those that score best tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density. These can foster a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure. Six of the top ten scoring cities are in Australia and Canada, which have, respectively, population densities of 3.1 and 3.9 people per square kilometre.

“These densities compare with a global (land) average of 57 and a US average of 35.”

The report also went on to state that in spite of “misleading” numbers, violent crime continues to be on a downward trend over the long term and is stable over the last few years.

In short, maybe those people always threatening to move to Canada are onto something.

[Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images]